Commercial Balsamic Vinegars arrival on the market
The wholesale commercial production of balsamic vinegar, as we know it today, began after the Second World War. Public awareness and popularity came only in the late 1970s. Around this time the chefs in Italy were evolving new cooking styles and discovered that the intense flavors of balsamic vinegar greatly complimented the delicacies. Foreigners visiting Italy also discovered it, as a result of which awareness of the rare vinegar grew at a staggering pace.
Unfortunately, the local families who were the only producers could not meet the demand. Taking advantage of the situation several producers came up with manipulated versions or imitations which were cheap and quick and were termed as commercial balsamic vinegar. By the late 1970s the annual sales of cheap commercial balsamic vinegar had reached an estimated 1.75 million litres, as compared to only 1760 litres of the approved tradizionale.
This outraged the traditional producers from Modena and Reggio and they launched a campaign to distinguish themselves from the fake producers. Hence ensued a battle of rivalry between the two towns, each claiming exclusive authority over the precious vinegar. In 1987, after a long fight, the provinces of Modena and Reggio were granted dual Domain of Control, or DOC. Today, only vinegars that conform to a decree written by the Ministry of Agriculture can be called aceto balsamico tradizionale, with consortiums in Modena and Reggio overseeing the certification and bottling of authentic balsamico.
Certain standards were now set, upon satisfying which only would the vinegar receive the consortium seal and bear the words “Aceto Balsamico Tradizionale”. According to these rules only the balsamic vinegar produced in Modena or Reggio by the traditional methods and aged for a minimum of 12 years would be cleared. No wine vinegar or caramel can be added. Producers must bring their vinegar before a board of five expert tasters and pass tests for color, density, aroma, and taste. Only a unanimous decision of the experts would mean that the vinegar has passed the test and as such just one third of the vinegar submitted wins approval. Once the vinegar has been accepted, it is bottled in the presence of the producer and consortium members into distinctive 100 millilitre bottles bearing the producer’s label and the consortium’s seal of guarantee.
balsamic vinegar production
Technorati Tags: balsamic vinegar production